Luncheon calls for evidence in corruption allegations against NICIL
Says NICIL most open among government entities
Opposition Parliamentarians who have been clamouring for NICIL to come clean on its accounts
should put on paper their evidence that the entity has not been in compliance with the law.
This is the charge from Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr Roger Luncheon, who sits as one of the Directors of NICIL (National Industrial Commercial Investments Limited), the government’s investment arm.
Opposition Parliamentarians want NICIL’s head, Winston Brassington, to provide evidence to show how much money it has and to say also where NICIL has been investing its money.
As far as Luncheon is concerned, NICIL is clean.
“I don’t believe that the Auditor General has drawn to the board’s attention much less to the public’s attention…that we have indeed violently or in any other way been administering and having NICIL operate inconsistent with the company act (or) inconsistent with the laws of Guyana,” Luncheon stated yesterday.
Dr Luncheon feels that a lot of the “haranguing” coming from the opposition could easily be resolved if they were to look to have a fairly adequate understanding of what NICIL is set up to do and what it is doing.
Even if NICIL is not familiar with the laws under which it functions, Dr Luncheon contended that surely the Auditor General must know. He said that notwithstanding some delays with audited financial statements of recent, the Auditor General has not had cause to cite NICIL for illegality.
“I can only say today where there continues to be contentions, let’s have it on paper – put it out,” Luncheon declared.
Dr Luncheon asserted that every single accusation and every single “misinformation” and “every bit of the hype by the opposition” has been countered by NICIL.
He said that there are very few government entities that have been so open in discussing with the public and the private sector its business.
Dr Luncheon feels that the opposition’s accusations against NICIL are “part of the cut and thrust of the game being played out now” by an opposition-controlled National Assembly.
Khemraj Ramjattan, Chairman of the Alliance for Change (AFC) has questioned Brassington’s statement that NICIL’s coffers only contain $700M.
Ramjattan is sticking to his story that NICIL has billions of dollars and these are not paid over into the Consolidated Fund, or what is in the government’s main bank account?
“Where are the billions invested?” asked Ramjattan. He called on the NICIL Director to not only make verbal pronouncements but also to produce tangible documentation.
He said that the NICIL Executive Director must not only make oral statements that NICIL only has $700M and the rest has been invested.
Ramjattan said that Brassington must immediately provide documents detailing all of NICIL investments so that there can be a determination of where the money is.
While Ramjattan is in full support of his colleague Parliamentarian, Carl Greenidge’s call for taxpayers to take private action against NICIL, he is opposed to the proposed method.
The veteran parliamentarian says that should a private lawsuit be filed against NICIL then the ‘sub judice’ regulations would apply and the matter cannot be deliberated in the House until its determination in the Courts.
As such he is advocating that the matter be fully ventilated in the House before private action is taken.
Until such time, Ramjattan says that he is eagerly awaiting the documents from NICIL, detailing where and how NICIL’s billions are invested.